Both Rane and Pioneer competition have a clear claim to turntablists’ hearts in the form of Traktor Scratch/Scratch Live interfaces in the box, but despite this shortcoming the audio interface in the DB2 sounds great, is easy to set up with the flexible inputs, and latency is potentially tiny. Just about everything sends MIDI too, and the effects selection section can be blocked off to send just MIDI but leave the currently selected effect active with a top mounted button, allowing you to set up the buttons to turn software effects on and off without losing hardware effects control.
The aforementioned weakness when it comes to the scratchability of the faders means that the DB2 probably won’t be your mixer of choice if you’ve got turntablist aspirations anyway, so the lack of DVS connectivity shouldn’t sink the DB2 by any means. Of course, there’s always Virtual DJ – not to mention the newly reduced in price Traktor Pro being, potentially, a very happy marriage indeed.
Ins and Outs
The DB2 features a flexible input matrix, which makes connections stress free. Any input channel can be set to any mixer channel meaning it doesn’t matter where there’s a free connection round the back – a really cool feature thats success is in its simplicity. The mic input is on the mixer fascia and switchable with an also fascia mounted phono aux input which will make connections nice and simple for controller DJs rocking up to an installed DB2.
A&H have made a few savings elsewhere in the I/O section. There are only two hardware phono preamps, but you can select software RIAA amping – and it sounds very good – for each of the other channels individually in the menu. There’s no effects send/return, but I can just about look the other way on that one considering the dual effects processors onboard. That said, considering the price of the mixer it’s a bit of a surprise. There is an X-Link connector though ‐ a factor that could woo Allen & Heath fans waiting to pounce on the K2 controller – but right now there’s nothing to warrant that much excitement around its inclusion.
In a Nutshell
The Xone:DB2 is, at the end of the day, a compromise on Allen & Heath’s vision of what a super mixer should be so that it can get in between a few more decks. That said, it’s an excellent compromise. Squeezing things in have come a the cost of a few ergonomic boo-boos, with a little more delving into the menu than is ideal, but the effects are superb and the tri-modal EQ is excellent. In a perfect world the faders would be smoother and more configurable and there’d be an external effects loop, but hey – nobody’s perfect.
In short, the DB2 finds itself sitting somewhere in the middle of the price scale between pro-club level and home four channel mixers, but leaning much more towards the former category in performance.